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      Coming off back-to-back poles, William Byron in strong form for Michigan race

      © Phil Cavali Photography

      RACE INFO: FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway | Monday, June 10 at 5 p.m. ET

      WILLIAM BYRON

      STATS DON’T LIE: Continuing to make strides every race, Byron has added to his already impressive sophomore season stats. In the last five races, Byron has scored 163 points – fifth-highest of all Cup drivers – propelling him from 20th to 14th in the driver point standings. He’s started on the front row six times – the most of any driver this season so far – and is tied for the most pole awards this season with three. Aside from starting in the top three in each of the last four races, he’s led laps in the last four races, the best streak of his career so far. In the last two races, Byron has had an average running position of seventh and has scored stage points in seven of the last 10 races. He has also finished in the top 10 in three of the last four races this season.

      © 2019 Nigel Kinrade NKP

      MICHIGAN MOTIVATION: Byron will return to the two-mile, D-shaped oval for the third time in his NASCAR Cup Series career this weekend. Looking to continue to improve off his previous starts, the driver has a best starting position of 14th at the venue and a track-best finish of 13th, both coming in the rain-shortened event last June. Byron also has one Xfinity Series start at Michigan, where he qualified fourth and ended the race in the runner-up position, as well as one Gander Outdoor Truck Series start in which he started third and finished fourth.

      POCONO PLAYBACK: Collecting back-to-back NASCAR Cup Series pole awards, William Byron led the field to the green flag once again last weekend, this time at Pocono Raceway. Leading the initial 21 laps, the driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Autoguard Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 finished Stage 1 in second place and Stage 2 in third, collecting crucial stage points. A minor dust up with the wall caused him to lose momentum in the final 50 laps, but Byron fought to work his way back through the traffic. He ultimately crossed the finish line in ninth, his fourth top-10 finish of the 2019 season.

      Jeff Gordon and William Byron
      NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon talks with Daytona 500 pole winner William Byron about his unconventional start in racing, how he has managed to progress through the NASCAR ranks so quickly and how iRacing prepared him for the Cup Series.
      Watch Part 2 and Part 3 of Jeff’s interview with William.

      ALEX BOWMAN

      LET’S COMPARE: It is safe to say that Bowman and the No. 88 team have been successful in the last five races. The Tucson, Arizona, native has three top-five finishes and four top-10s in the last five races. Bowman’s average finish went from 18.3 in the first nine races to 5.6 in the last five. The Nationwide team has moved from 21st to 11th in the point standings in that span.

      POINTS, POINTS, POINTS: Bowman has scored the second-most points among all drivers over the last five races. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy is second to teammate Chase Elliott on the list, with 204 points earned since Talladega Superspeedway.

      BOWMAN AT MICHIGAN: Bowman has seven previous starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at the two-mile track in Michigan. Last spring, Bowman started from the 21st position and ended the race 16th after the event was cut short due to weather on Lap 133. The 26-year-old has completed 92.5 percent of the total laps run in those seven events. Bowman also has four previous starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Michigan. In 2016, he qualified on pole for the 125-lap event and went on to get a seventh-place finish. Last spring, the driver qualified 10th in the No. 23 Chevrolet and finished 21st after leading eight laps. The driver ran for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event in 2015 and finished 11th after starting 16th. In 2012, Bowman qualified third for the ARCA Racing Series event at the track and led 12 laps before crossing the line second.

      MOST LAPS: Bowman is sixth on the list of drivers who have led laps this season but have yet to capture a victory. The 26-year-old has led 94 laps total over four events this season. The No. 88 machine led seven laps at Talladega, 16 laps at Dover, 63 laps in Kansas and eight laps in the 600-mile event at Charlotte two weeks ago.

      IVES HEADS HOME: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives will make his ninth NASCAR Cup Series start as crew chief this weekend at his home track of Michigan International Speedway. In his eight previous starts calling the shots, he has one top-five finish and three top-10s. Ives’ best finish of second came in 2015 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel. In 2013, Ives was a crew chief at JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and captured the victory in the spring event with driver Regan Smith. Ives’ drivers have led 20 laps in the Xfinity Series at the two-mile track and have an average finish of 3.5. Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 team between 2006 and 2012. During that time, the team captured six top-10 finishes and three second-place starting positions.

      Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman
      Jeff Gordon sits down with Alex Bowman to discuss his long journey to Hendrick Motorsports, the adversity and injuries he had to overcome along the way and going “from the couch to the playoffs.”

      HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

      HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT MICHIGAN: At Michigan International Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has collected eight wins, 11 pole positions, 52 top-five finishes and 99 top 10s along with 2,491 laps led. This weekend, Michigan could become the seventh different track where the organization has collected 100 or more top 10s.

      POWER OF THE POLE: Hendrick Motorsports leads organizations in poles for the 2019 season. Last weekend at Pocono Raceway marked the fourth time in history that the organization has captured six or more poles in the first 14 races of the season. The record for most poles captured in one season by the organization is 16, a feat it accomplished in 1986 when it had amassed seven poles in the first 14 races. 

      FEELING HOT, HOT, HOT: Over the last five races, the organization has claimed the top spot in many areas. The team stands as a leader in the most poles (three), second-place finishes (three), top-five finishes (eight), top-10s (14) and average finish (9.6). At least one Hendrick Motorsports car has finished in the top five in each of the last five races, which is the longest active streak in the Cup Series.

      Via Hendrick Motorsports